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Captive Elephant Welfare Fund

Restoring Hope, Health, and Dignity for Elephants in Need

The Captive Elephant Welfare Fund is a focused initiative guided by the success of our groundbreaking work at Elephant Sanctuary Brazil and dedicated to enhancing the lives of captive elephants worldwide. Established to provide essential financial support for sanctuary development and continued elephant welfare and advocacy, this fund underscores our commitment to the longevity of our efforts while representing a significant stride towards ensuring the well-being of captive elephants across the globe.


Thousands of elephants worldwide endure the harrowing consequences of captivity and exploitation.

Lady, chained up and alone before her rescue by GSE on November 29, 2019

Widespread abuse, neglect, inadequate medical care, confined living conditions, and prolonged isolation contribute to profound physical, mental, and emotional anguish among these highly intelligent and social creatures. 

The conditions that elephants endure in most captive situations are grossly inadequate for meeting their basic needs, and as a result, many elephants suffer from painful and incurable diseases, exhibit unnatural stereotypical behaviors, display aggression, or die prematurely.

While attempts have been made by some captive facilities to improve medical care and alleviate isolation, these incremental advancements fall short of providing elephants what is required for them to thrive.


A Holistic Approach to Elephant Care

Research from diverse scientific disciplines has definitively shown that elephants have complex emotions and a high level of measurable intelligence. Studies indicate that when their care in captivity does not adequately account for these fundamental aspects of who they are, there are negative effects on their neurological function, behavior, and overall well-being.

Over decades of work in captive elephant care, elephants have shown us firsthand that when their physical, mental and emotional needs are sufficiently met and their individuality is both acknowledged and respected, true healing is possible. This direct experience, backed by scientific studies, has guided the ethical standards that we have developed over the last decade at Global Sanctuary for Elephants  – standards that we have rigorously upheld in all of our work with the residents of Elephant Sanctuary Brazil.


A Brighter Future for Elephants in Need

Our extensive work in the development of sanctuary has proven that it is possible to significantly improve the lives of captive elephants by providing them with safe and healing environments that are conducive to their physical, mental, and emotional well-being. We have witnessed and thoroughly documented the extraordinary transformations experienced by the elephants in our care at Elephant Sanctuary Brazil. As a result of our successful implementation of this holistic approach, we have become a trusted resource for dozens of facilities and organizations across the globe who are working to improve captive elephant welfare.

These are the conditions required for captive elephants to heal and thrive:

Elephants enjoying vast wild spaces of sanctuary

Expansive, Wild Habitats

Environments that offer plentiful and diverse vegetation, natural physical and mental stimulation, and vast spaces to roam, allowing elephants to live as close as possible to how elephants live in the wild

An elephant plays in a pond at her sanctuary where she is given maximum autonomy to live as she chooses

Maximum Autonomy

Policies and care practices that support the highest level of elephant autonomy with limited human intervention to restore their freedom of choice and allow them to live their lives free from human expectation and demand

An elephant who experienced a lifetime of abuse and neglect is now treated with the utmost dignity and respect in sanctuary

Safe & Ethical Treatment

Safe, respectful, and effective medical care through a commitment to non-dominance, utilizing positive reinforcement training and protective contact for the safety of the both the elephants and the caregivers

Female Asian Elephants at sanctuary experiencing the companionship that only a herd can offer.

Healthy Social Bonds

Opportunities for elephants to forge natural friendships with other elephants of the same species, while honoring their individual boundaries and preferences within the rich social dynamic dynamic of a herd


Advancing the Cause

We have come a long way, but we haven’t come alone. Continued support is needed to help move this important initiative forward.

Funds received on behalf of the Captive Elephant Welfare Fund are allocated in various ways to ensure the longevity of our work and support our overarching mission, including:

  • Expansion and ongoing development at Elephant Sanctuary Brazil
  • Rescue and relocation of elephants in need of sanctuary
  • Consultation, development assistance, and caregiver training at facilities worldwide
  • Advocacy and education initiatives

Your continued support is needed.

Bambi, rescued and welcomed to sanctuary by GSE on September 26, 2020

The solution to the captive elephant welfare crisis requires higher standards of care that address elephant welfare at every level of their being – body, mind, and emotions. This is what true sanctuary is capable of providing, and it has been demonstrated through our unparalleled success in captive elephant recovery and rehabilitation.

Donate to the

Captive Elephant Welfare Fund

Celebrating 10 Years of Sanctuary

As we reflect on what’s been achieved in our first 10 years, we’re immensely grateful for our supporters’ generosity and unwavering dedication, which has fueled our remarkable progress in improving the lives of captive elephants at Elephant Sanctuary Brazil and beyond.

We could not have done this without you!


Elephants Relocated to Sanctuary



Acres in Development at Elephant Sanctuary Brazil



Countries Impacted by Our Advisory and Advocacy


Timeline of achievements from 2013 until the launch of the Captive Elephant Welfare Fund